A new partnership between Arts Council England (ACE) and the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (NAAONB), is hoped to nurture “new links between arts and cultural organisations”.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Ace and Philip Hygate, chair (NAAONB) signed the A Memorandum of Understanding to begin the partnership. It is hoped that the fruits of the partnership will result in more people engaging with culture and landscape, particularly England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) and the surrounding communities.

The partnership is also hoped to nurture more conversations around tackling the climate emergency.

The Memorandum marks the next step in the NAAONB’s move to partner with culture organisations. Its former projects include ’Sowing in Time’, which saw artist Kerry Morrison create bags decorated with a smear of peat and a small piece of the geo-jute matting used to stop further erosion and provide a surface for seeding to take hold.

The bags contained seeds to sow on the peatland to help re-vegetate the peat and prevent further erosion.

Bringing people together through sharing food, artist Kerry Morrison and chef Andy Dean also developed the ‘Pendle Peat Pie’, a vegan-friendly pie made to look like the peatland being restored on top of Pendle Hill. The pie also reflected the local community, with a brown daal, chips and spinach filling. It was selected and served to 120 delegates at the COP26 Peat Pavilion.

Sir Nicholas Serota, chair of Arts Council England said: “Today’s signing represents further ambitions to deepen our appreciation and engagement with England’s rural landscapes, and their surrounding communities. Reflected through the Arts Council’s commitment to environmental responsibility, this Memorandum highlights the important, crucial connection between culture and the landscape.”

Philip Hygate, chair of the National Association for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty added: “England’s 34 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty are deeply committed to working with art and culture organisations. We have seen that when AONB Partnerships and artists come together, the results add up to far more than the sum of their parts, creating experiences that will live long in people’s memories.”

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